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Sony reveals PlayStation 4 details


February 20, 2013

After months of rumors and speculation, Sony has officially revealed the Playstation 4, featuring a DualShock 4 controller that syncs with a 3D camera, games streamed from a cloud, and the ability to play PS4 games on the Vita

After months of rumors and speculation, Sony has officially revealed the Playstation 4, featuring a DualShock 4 controller that syncs with a 3D camera, games streamed from a cloud, and the ability to play PS4 games on the Vita

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After months of rumors and speculation, Sony has finally revealed the PlayStation 4 at a special event in New York City – well, details of the console, but not the console itself. The company revealed a wide range of impressive features for the new system, including a DualShock 4 controller that syncs with a 3D camera, games streamed from a cloud service, and the ability to play PS4 games on the PlayStation Vita. Here's everything you need to know about Sony's next gaming console.

DualShock 4 controller

One of the most noticeable features of the new PlayStation is the DualShock 4 controller, which blends the basic form of past PlayStation controllers (two short hand grips, dual analog sticks, four main face buttons, etc.) with some completely new elements. In the center is a small touchpad, which allows users to interact with games and other programs much like a tablet or smartphone. It also includes a headset jack (a mono headset will be bundled with the console), built-in speaker, and a light bar on the front that changes color to designate different players and match on-screen actions.

The controller will also sync to the newly-revealed PlayStation 4 Eye, a 3D camera that uses two wide-angle lenses for depth perception, similar to the Xbox Kinect. Players will use the Eye for motion controls, face recognition, and better precision with the Move controller. The PS4 Eye also incorporates four microphones for distinguishing between different voices and can detect the positions of players in the room using the light bar on the DualShock 4.

The main feature of the controller Sony pointed out, though, was the Share button, a dedicated button that activates a number of social functions depending on what you're doing. At any time, you can press the button to broadcast that you're online, communicate with friends, and watch them play their games live. The PS4 always has a video compression and decompression system running, so you can also use the Share button to take screenshots and record video clips, which you can then instantly upload to Facebook and other social sites. In certain games, friends will be able to drop helpful items into the gamespace for you to use or even take control from you remotely to help out on difficult levels or bosses.


Sony has upgraded the processing and graphics capabilities considerably by including a chip with eight x86-64 AMD cores and an AMD Radeon GPU with 1.84 Teraflops of processing power. The console is equipped with 8 GB of GDDR5 internal memory, which is unified to enable 176 GB/s of bandwidth for some impressive graphical feats. To demonstrate the new visuals, Sony showed a live demo created with Havok's physics engine of a million blue balls falling over a cityscape and bouncing around individually.

Here are the full specs released by Sony:

Immediate play

The main goal Sony stressed with the PS4 was decreasing the time it takes to actually start playing a game once a person has sat down in front of their TV. To this end, the PS4 will be able to go into a "suspend mode" at any time just by pressing the power button on the controller. This will pause a game and put the console in a low-power state, letting a user pick right back up where they left off at a moment's notice. Additionally, players will be able to load certain programs, like the web browser, without shutting down the game.

The hardware also incorporates a second chip just for background processing, meaning software updates can be downloaded and installed with a game running or with the system in standby. Sony has even gone a step further and incorporated some of Gaikai's streaming technology to allow gamers to play games as soon as they're purchased. The console will simply download a portion of a title and then download the rest as you play – no more waiting an hour for a full game to download so you can play it.

Second Screen

Taking a cue from Nintendo's Wii U, the PlayStation 4 will allow players to stream certain games from their home console directly to the handheld PlayStation Vita, so next-gen games can be played even without a television. Adding to that, Sony is releasing a PlayStation App for iOS and Android that will turn any smartphone or tablet into a secondary screen on select titles. The second screen can be used as a game map, to watch another player's game, or purchase games and other media.

Upcoming games

For all the PS4's advances though, a game console is still only as good as its games, and plenty of developers showed up to Sony's announcement with their latest projects in tow (except for Square Enix, who showed off the same Agni's Philosophy tech demo from last year's E3). Many developers focused on the improved graphics capabilities, such as Evolution Studios with its racing title, Driveclub, which models each unique material of every car almost photorealistically. Capcom unveiled a fantasy game with the working title Deep Down, which was made with it's new Panta Rhei game engine. Quantic Dream – who previously created an astounding tech demo with the PS3 – also announced a new game engine aimed at building characters in such detail that even the subtlest emotions could be recreated.

The next installments of some PlayStation-exclusive franchises were also shown, including Killzone: Shadow Fall and Infamous: Second Son, as well as a unique title called Knack, which centers around a creature that grows and shrinks by absorbing or dropping thousands of tiny objects. Blizzard took the stage to announce forthcoming ports of Diablo 3 on both the PS4 and PS3, while Bungie revealed plans to bring its upcoming title, Destiny, to Sony's console. LittleBigPlanet developer, Media Molecule, was the only one to demonstrate how the PlayStation Move controller could come into play by forming a digital sculpture and allowing others to reshape it. Finally, Ubisoft practically stole the show once more with some new gameplay from its hacker-centric game, Watch Dogs.

No backwards compatibility with PS3 ... yet

Unfortunately, with all these impressive features, there was bound to be at least one negative bit of news. Sony revealed that the PS4 will not play PS3 games natively, so your library of PS3 discs won't work in the new console. On the plus side, Sony did mention plans to bring PS3 games to users using Gaikai's streaming technology, which could also include support for PS1 and PS2 games.

But where's the console?

Though Sony revealed quite a bit at tonight's event, it still left a lot to be revealed at a later date, most notably the PS4 console itself. Though numerous speakers heaped loads of praise on Sony's new gaming system, the hardware itself was nowhere to be seen. Whether the company is leaving something up its sleeve for future events like E3 and PAX or whether the design of the console is still being finalized, it was still a strange omission for such a huge announcement.

When is it being released?

The PlayStation 4 is set to release this "holiday season," though no official pricing has been announced yet. Sony definitely has an array of impressive features to get excited about though, and we'll no doubt hear – and hopefully see – more before that release day comes.

Source: Sony

About the Author
Jonathan Fincher Jonathan grew up in Norway, China, and Trinidad before graduating film school and becoming an online writer covering green technology, history and design, as well as contributing to video game news sites like Filefront and 1Up. He currently resides in Texas, where his passions include video games, comics, and boring people who don't want to talk about either of those things. All articles by Jonathan Fincher

Some of the games look great and I welcome the hardware update but I'm not sure what to think of the share button on the controller and Facebook integration yet.


So... the much hyped cell processors in the PS3 didn't deliver? This new thing build around a X86 processor and a AMD card is essentially a PC.

Not complaining. But why bother with a PS4? Especially if you can ditch your PS3 games.

Paul van Dinther

Many of the game demos were impressive, but I question which ones represent actual game play. The few cross-platform titles like Watch Dogs and Destiny probably best represent what the first round of PS4 games will actually look like.

For example, the sweeping camera angles seen in the demos for Infamous, Agni's Philosophy, and Deep Down are not indicative of what the actual third-person perspective gameplay will look like (which will probably look very boring by comparison). The old man face presented by Quantic Dream was my personal "wow" moment, but it remains to be seen if they can pull that off in an actual game.

It also seemed like they threw out many empty buzzwords relating to social networking. I'm not sure the world needs millions of 5-15 minute game play clips flooding the internet with the new sharing feature.

That said, I think E3 this year is going to be amazing and I look forward to seeing what companies have cooking for the PS4.

Jason Falconer

I have just gotten me the 660 gtx last year and the games are all ran on max now with direct x 11 so those specs are nothing fancy you can get the same type of processor on the pc and few months down that graphics chip will be outdated all ready. Want cutting edge stick to pc. i have a xbox 360 and seeing they never had physx or any of that never again will i set foot on console turf

Brendon Vorster

@Brendon Vorster Yeah but companies tend to target consoles first and port to PC later so even fast gaming rigs are held back by games designed to run on consoles launched in 2005.

A new generation of console games should carry over to better PC games too.


Agree. Sony PS4 disappoints. Have an ACER machine which has better graphics capabilities already. And also runs my other stuff. And the backwards compatibility issue with PS3 will kill my reasons for upgrading stone dead. This means the PS4 announcement is nothing but bad news for the moment. Has Sony really lost its way that bad?

Jonathan Marks

Sony is taking the Apple positioning now apparently, cater to the yuppies and hipsters who want the latest hype not the guts and focus specifically on them. I don't think they want to cater to those who want cutting-edge and super hard-core performance, as they are more inclined to want backwards compatibility and therefore it opens the door to copied and pirated games. I am expecting the PS4 games to have a hefty price-tag then.

Samer Helmy

I thought the presentation was alright. What really caught my eye was that the Deep Down demo was actually being played. If you look at the bottom left of the corner, you will see these three objects that looked like weapons or a shield. I think that was live game play. Either way, PC is still the BEST choice to go. Like many of you said, your computer already does what the PS4 is going to do, and some even better. It was funny watching the people on the streams go wild over the fact it is running a 8 core. Little do they know, it just means a lot of multitasking, which is nice in a sense if you like to game, while d-loading big games, and watching you friend play all at once. haha I just wish we would stop with this "Console Exclusivity". I makes more sense for a developer to branch out to ALL gaming systems. I want Killzone 4 and Destiny, so for now, I am going to start saving up, so I can get a PS4.

Brooks Hubbard

why don't they try fixing the HDMI system so it will play any of the media I send to it from my PC. Although the menu system is nice, the porting technology is terrible. As well, they are just catering to hipsters. With that much brainpower they have become disconnected from what a user wants. I am not impressed...

Mark McGraw

Considering its components and power supply I think this is actually closer to a notebook rather than a juiced-out desktop. The large case or box if you will in will allow plenty of air to flow through the modest power sucking components making it very quiet compared to any compact notebook case or power hungry desktop.

Fretting Freddy the Ferret pressing the Fret

Why is it Bluetooth 2.1? I don't get why big companies like this keep on not using Bluetooth 4. Unless you really can't afford it which I'm sure Sony can everybody should use Bluetooth 4.

Ben O'Brien
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